Business leaders want regulatory stability rather than a bonfire of EU-retained law

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The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill is currently passing through Parliament and will automatically revoke most retained EU law at the end of 2023 as part of a ‘sunset clause’.

When asked in which policy area there exists the greatest opportunity for the UK government to reduce the regulatory burden of EU-retained law, 47% of Institute of Directors’ members stated that they did not want any changes, preferring instead stability in the current regulatory framework.

The April 2023 Institute of Directors member survey, which found that 82% of business leaders were aware of the Retained EU Law Bill, also found that:

19% believed that employment regulation provided the greatest opportunity
11% believed that financial services regulation provided the greatest opportunity
5% believed that environmental regulation provided the greatest opportunity
4% believed that health and safety regulation provide the greatest opportunity

Dr. Roger Barker, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “The speed at which government intends to review retained EU law is a recipe for bad law-making. Rules and regulations across a range of business-relevant areas could be changed or removed without the normal processes of parliamentary scrutiny or stakeholder consultation.

“This gives rise to a level of regulatory uncertainty which is extremely unhelpful for business. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that almost half of IoD members would prefer the government to leave the existing regulatory framework unchanged.

“Our polling also demonstrates that there is a surprisingly high level of awareness amongst business leaders of the Bill. Far from being an arcane piece of post-Brexit adjustment, our members are very aware of the uncertainty it implies. And they are concerned about what they see.

“Ideally, we would like to see this Bill dropped, and the process of regulatory reform pursued in a less politicised manner. No distinction should be made between reforming regulations which have been retained from the EU or which derive from domestic legislation. Both types of law should be assessed on their merits and with regard to overcoming the specific challenges facing business.”